Mayor blasts media over city snow removal comments

By Ally Harris
Feb. 24, 2014

The media only likes to report on negative news stories, says Charlottetown mayor Clifford Lee.
The Guardian’s coverage of the city’s snow removal efforts this winter have been particularly negative, he said.
“The reality of the situation is that a lot of times the media (doesn’t) want to carry good news stories. That’s not being critical of the media, I guess good news doesn’t sell newspapers.”
But sometimes the media specifically looks for a negative aspect, he said.
“There are some people within the industry, I think, that would rather just cover negative issues and always look for the negative in something.”
Gary MacDougall, managing editor of The Guardian, said this is a common misconception from the public.
“I don’t necessarily agree with the mayor, I respect his opinion, but I think it’s just a perception that a lot of people have.”
However, a large number of news stories are actually positive stories, he said.
“The ironic thing is, if you were to add up in a week the stories that are in The Guardian, I think a lot of people would be surprised at how many good news stories there are.”
Paul MacNeill, publisher of The Eastern Graphic, wasn’t surprised by Lee’s comments.
“I don’t believe that, but I think everybody’s entitled to their opinion and there’s nothing wrong with it, other than I don’t think it holds up to factual analysis.”
P.E.I. politicians tend to get an “easy ride” with the media, he said.
“They tend not to push buttons. They tend not to dig deep. They tend not to be aggressive or challenge those in power.”
The relationship between a politician and the media is a business relationship, but on P.E.I. it is often too cosy, he said.
“I think you should be friendly, but not necessarily friends.”
Often, the media simply reflects public opinion, said MacDougall.
“Sometimes the media, whether it’s the Guardian or whether it’s any other media operation, (is) just reflecting what people are saying.”
It can often be a no-win scenario for the media, he said.
“The public wants it both ways. On the one hand, the media is expected to report on these things, and yet on the other hand, the media is being intrusive.”